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Proceed To Progress

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Redemption (salvation, rebirth, etc.) is not something one can grow in, for its operation exists only in a single degree, i.e. one soul cannot be more saved than another. Thus the sole difference between those reborn lies within the maturity of understanding and application of all that Scripture and the Spirit of God teaches. To know by Spirit-given faith (Gal 5:22) the efficacy of Christ’s expiation for sin is to manifest in one’s lifestyle (walk) evidence of being forgiven by our loving Father. This manifests “union” with Him, but “fellowship” with Him involves a progression from mere union, as forgiveness is but the beginning of learning the love of God via obedience of His “Word of Truth” (2Co 6:7; Eph 1:13; 2Ti 2:15; Jas 1:18).

Proceed To Progress

Is it not a strange, humbling and prevalent fact that so few Christians should understand their own Christianity? Yet it is true that there are many saints in the Lord Jesus who know more about the Jews than they do about their own Christianity. Pay close heed to this, lest it be your own case.

It is always the truth most important to us that the devil tries to hide away from us, and turn us bitterly from it. Nor is it only the bad thing that he perverts, to hinder our blessing. For many true believers are kept back because they refuse to look for more than the forgiveness of their sins through the Gospel. Now therein is God’s righteousness revealed by and to faith (Rom 1:17); therein the sinner owns the riches of God’s grace to his soul: but to stop there is altogether unworthy.

So many saints of God fall into this snare at the present moment, that it is well to see to it that we ourselves escape it. What is the good of occupying ourselves with what does not promote our Father’s glory? Let us seek in all integrity to judge ourselves. Let us zealously seek to be taught by the Spirit (1Co 2:13). Let our eyes be fixed on the Lord Jesus that we may be filled with fervor of spirit, and purpose of heart, simple and thoroughgoing. The question for our faith and practice is the attitude that our Father assumed toward us, and our relation to Him while the Lord Jesus is above on His own right hand. How is the answer to this great truth to be carried out on the earth in the heart and way of those who believe? Must it not be through faith “working by love” (Gal 5:6)?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). It was His God and Father that raised the Lord Jesus from among the dead, and gave Him glory, that our faith and hope should be in God, His Father and our Father, His God and our God (Jhn 20:17). As in the rest of the New Testament it is not just the God of Abraham, etc.; but here, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is no longer just the revelation of the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. You naturally become more or less of a Jew in this case, and your heart cannot then rise higher than “the promises made to the fathers” (Rom 15:8 – I believe the patriarchal promises relate primarily with inheriting the new earth, e.g. Psa 25:13; 37:9; 37:11, 22; 82:8; Isa 49:8; Mat 5:5—NC). Hence so many believers now, like the Reformers and the Puritans in former days, talk of grasping the promises. This is to ignore and lower the privileges of the Gospel and of the Church. It loses sight of the Lord Jesus Christ in heavenly glory, after the work of the Cross. Every Christian ought to understand and appreciate the total difference (I would say chiefly between those inheriting the New Heaven and those inheriting the New Earth—NC).

Therefore, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Tim 2:15).

- Wm Kelly (1821 – 1906)

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